Apr 20, 2009
A White House communiqué announced that Cubans living in the United States would be able to visit family members in Cuba and transfer money there with few limitations.
Obama’s decision follows up on a report issued in February by Republican Senator Richard Lugar, which said the 47-year embargo had failed and invited the new administration to open diplomatic and commercial relations with the Castro regime.
There were mixed responses to Obama’s decision. Those who want to lift the embargo saw it as an encouraging sign. On the other hand, the most fiercely anti-Castro Cubans in the U.S. think that it would lead to an influx of capital to Cuba which would further consolidate the Cuban regime which they have dreamed of destroying for more than fifty years!
In reality, it was more of a publicity stunt than a real change. It left in place the embargo, which makes the daily lives of Cubans miserable. And it was directed more to other Latin American leaders that Obama met soon after he announced the change. The big majority of them, with the exception of Uribe from Columbia, want an end to the Cuban embargo. It was a way to mark the new U.S. administration off from the previous one.
The fact remains that the measures taken by Obama are very modest. They favor Cubans living in the U.S. much more than those on the island, who continue to suffer the consequences of the U.S. embargo, which makes the lives of the Cuban population and especially its poorest layers ever more difficult.
Some fifty years ago, U.S. leaders established this embargo. They expected that it would cause the Castro regime, which dared defy U.S. domination, to give up. But the Castro regime didn’t give in, and despite the difficulties, it even succeeded in establishing and maintaining a certain number of social conquests, especially in the areas of education and health, which the majority of other countries of Latin American still don’t enjoy.
It’s outrageous that this embargo, imposed by the giant U.S. imperialism to demonstrate its power, remains in force today. End the embargo!